- On May 5, 2020
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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines social distancing as staying away from mass gatherings and keeping a distance of 6 feet or 2 meters – about one body length – away from other people. Social distancing has been recommended by public health officials as one of the effective ways of slowing the spread of contagion diseases. This, together with handwashing with soap under running water is thus adopted the world over in the wake of the deadly Coronavirus. Some health directorates have issued directives requesting that health facilities enforce the rule on practicing social distancing at health facilities. To assess compliance with these directives, District Citizens Monitoring Committees (DCMC) in Akuapem North, Lower Manya Krobo, Birim South, and Accra Metropolis visited some health facilities within their jurisdiction and interacted with clients and health staff.
Five facilities, including the Gboloo Kofi Community-based Health Planning and Services (CHPS) and Tetteh Quarshie Memorial Hospital in Akuapem North, Teshieman CHPS in Birim South, Djekiti CHPS in Lower Manya Krobo and Mamprobi Polyclinic in Accra Metropolis were visited. The various monitoring teams uncovered that all these facilities were adhering to the directive on social distancing at OPDs, Child Welfare, and Antenatal clinics and during Community Health Management Committee (CHMC) meetings. Besides, handwashing facilities are placed at vantage points and entrances of the facilities.
Monitoring teams also interviewed some health personnel to discuss challenges with effective handwashing and social distancing. The Teshieman and Djekiti CHPS indicated that their facilities encounter no challenges in enforcing social distancing.
Madam Salomey Okpoti, a Community Health Officer of the Djekiti CHPS compound remarked that more than three persons do not seek services from the facility at the same time which makes social distancing easy to adhere to. She also indicated that although the facility is not near a water access point, community members supply water to the facility regularly, ensuring that there is no shortage of water.
Madam Vivian Okai, a Community Health Officer of the Teshieman CHPS stated that “clients willingly wash their hands upon getting to the facility. Soap and water have always been available. The facility also has adequate benches to ensure that clients are well spaced out”.
L-R: OPD area of the Tetteh Quarshie Memorial Hospital| Pharmacy area of the Tetteh Quarshie Memorial Hospital |Photo credit: Dina Woode, Focal Person of Akuapem North
L-R: Ongoing CWC at Teshieman CHPS CWC at the Mamprobi polyclinic | Photo: Jane Amerley Photo: Andrews Acheampong,